Ritter Sport: Growing cocoa in harmony with people and nature

Chocolate is a natural product. So it must be in our own interest to save the nature for our own future as a manufacturer of chocolate. With more than 100 years of tradition and experience for manufacturing chocolate we know, excellent chocolate needs excellent ingredients. Sustainability therefore doesn’t start with our chocolate production in Germany. Even more important it starts at the beginning of the supply chain of our most important ingredient, our cocoa. Therefore we have started almost 30 years ago with the idea to work with cocoa farmers directly. Over the years we have refined and further developed our own individual cocoa-sourcing-strategy which focuses on collaborative partnerships with cocoa farmers and their organisations in different origins as well as starting our own cocoa plantation – EL CACAO.

With EL CACAO we are able to set new ecological and social standards for cocoa cultivation. From the 2.500 hectares of land we are taking care of, we use 1.200 hectares for cocoa cultivation in an agroforestry system. But 1.200 hectares we leave as wetlands and primary forests to protect and support the local biodiversity. Another 100 hectares we need for infrastructural purposes. On EL CACAO we can prove, that sustainable cocoa cultivation in an agroforestry system is an economically and ecologically alternative to traditional cultivation methods in cocoa.

However, sustainability also needs to keep the people in focus, who are involved. For us this means in particular the people at the beginning of our supply chain. On EL CACAO we not only pay a fair salary, but provide good social and medical services for our employees and their families. As an investment in their future we see it as elementary to support their personal education and training. For the cocoa farmers and their organisations we are establishing programs to individually support their needs on one side. On the other side we are a long-term reliable buyer for their quality cocoa production. This way the economic situation becomes more stable and reliable for the farmers.

In the end the consumer has to feel and taste the benefit of our efforts in a high quality and tasty chocolate square. For all the people involved in this supply chain from the origin of our cocoa throughout our chocolate production in Germany to our final customers all over the world, we are motivated to work in harmony with people and nature. Because we think in generations.